MarAd releases a report on the cost to operate a US flag ship...OMG!

If there ever was a reason to keep the Jones Act, it is this. The number of US ships in foreign trade without Federal Government support in one way or another (MSP, DoD, cargo preference) are non existant and this is why. My God, 2.7 times the cost to operate under the US flag! With the cost to build a ship and maintain it, fuel and stores basically being the same for all operators, the only difference is labor. The wages foreign seafarers are earning much be dirt!

[[B]MARAD Releases U.S. Flag Fleet Competitiveness Report

[/B]](http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/maritime-administration-marad-releases-u-s-flag-fleet-competitiveness-report)[SIZE=1]Monday, October 31, 2011

[/SIZE]The Maritime Administration has released a report examining the factors that significantly impact the competitiveness of U.S.-flag vessels in international transportation markets. Developed from two studies, the report compares U.S. and foreign-flag operating costs, examines impediments to the U.S.-flag registry, and provides industry recommendations for addressing these impediments. The report gave the following conclusion:

[I]“Regardless of flag, vessel operating costs are a reflection of a global operating environment that is constantly changing in response to a myriad of social, political, and economic pressures. This report, and continued consultations with carriers, are intended to explore the impact of those changes on the operating environment of the U.S.-flag foreign trade fleet. As the roundtable discussions and surveys revealed, carriers reported that the costs of operating under the U.S. flag place them at a competitive disadvantage for the carriage of commercial cargoes in international trade.
[/I]
[I]Based on the unaudited operating cost data provided to the Agency by U.S.-flag carriers, [U][B]the total average cost of operating a U.S.-flag vessel in foreign trade is estimated to be 2.7 times higher, on average, than foreign-flag equivalents[/B][/U]. The operating cost data available to the Maritime Administration, as well as the additional information laid out in this report, allow the Agency to better understand, monitor and promote the competitiveness of U.S.-flag carriers. The information will also be used to inform future U.S. maritime policy.”[/I]

I was in SIngapore recently and there were over 800 ships there. Looking at the mass of shipping all over the place I realized that there was very likely not one American seafarer on any of them. So so sad

Would government taxes and fees also contribute to this disparity?

^ All of that stuff, without question makes it prohibitively more expensive to base a fleet of ships here than in countries like Panama where all that stuff is much less complex and restrictive.

Unions are not happy with this report, to say the least…

READ: Maritime Unions Slam Marad for “Flawed” U.S.-Flag Operating Cost Report

I was in SIngapore recently and there were over 800 ships there. Looking at the mass of shipping all over the place I realized that there was very likely not one American seafarer on any of them. So so sad


Well, of course it costs more to flag/crew/ship American. We earn good wages for our labors. And I mean good wages within the US economy. Maybe $800 bucks a month is great for somebody from a developing nation where jobs are scarce and a ten month contract represents a few years wages working a normal job. But it is obvious that Americans wont work for such wages under the American flag (well… there are some pretty poorly paid mariners in the US, but that tends to be the exception, not the rule).

I think the lack of a coherant maritime policy and neglect of US shipping by both major political parties are the real culprits, not our wages and benefits.